I made a mistake. That’s 90 minutes on stage, look what I’ve done in 3.5 years, Biden said on Wednesday. Image Credit: AFP

Washington: The drumbeat of pressure on Joe Biden to drop out of the US presidential race has intensified with a bombshell report in the New York Times that he had conceded the possibility to a key ally, as well as movement within his own party to demand his withdrawal.

The White House and Biden’s campaign quickly denied the Times report suggesting the president had vocalised to a supporter that he could ill-afford another misstep that would irrevocably damage his campaign.

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Biden himself insisted to campaign staff he intended to remain in the race.

“I’m in this race to the end and we’re going to win because when Democrats unite, we will always win,” Biden said in a call alongside Vice-President Kamala Harris.

Biden earlier, for the first time, acknowledged his poor performance.

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His admission, which came during an interview with a local radio station, comes as pressure on him to drop out of the presidential race continues to mount.

Speaking in a pre-recorded interview with Wauk Radio in Wisconsin, the President opened up about his stumbling 90 minute head-to-head with Trump, which aired on Friday, June 28.

He said: “I had a bad night. And the fact of the matter is I made a mistake. That’s 90 minutes on stage, look what I’ve done in 3.5 years.”

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Image Credit: AFP

Earlier, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Biden is “absolutely not” withdrawing from the race, adding he is “moving forward” with his campaign.

House Democrats vented their frustration during a video call on Tuesday, although some reportedly cautioned against changing leaders so close to the August nominating convention.

“The fundamental issue, of course, isn’t the campaign. It’s not the Biden family. And it’s not even last week’s debate,” political analyst and prominent Trump critic Bill Kristol wrote Wednesday for conservative outlet The Bulwark.

“It’s the fitness of the president to be president - not for a few more months, but for four more years.”

Yet time is running out for the beleaguered president to convince anxious Democratic officials, donors and voters that he remains viable in his effort to keep former President Donald Trump from returning to office.

In another blow, dozens of Democratic lawmakers are considering signing a letter demanding Biden withdraw from the race, a senior party official said.

That anxiety has only been fueled by a flood of recent reporting suggesting other Democrats are eyeing possible replacement candidates “- and by the Times reporting.

Biden told his ally the race would be in a “different place” if upcoming events went poorly, the Times reported. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre subsequently said Biden had flatly denied making such a comment.

Biden served 36 years in Senate

Biden plans to sit for an interview with ABC News on Friday, and hold a rally in Madison, Wisconsin.

On Sunday, he’ll travel to Philadelphia for another campaign event. He also plans interviews with Black radio stations in Philadelphia and Milwaukee to coincide with his travel.

Biden has been calling senior Democratic lawmakers — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries — in a bid to shore up support on Capitol Hill, even as members of his party are publicly expressing dismay about his campaign.

So far, only two sitting House Democrats — Lloyd Doggett of Texas and Raul Grijalva of Arizona — have publicly called for Biden to step aside. But the president may not be able to survive a coordinated revolt among Democratic lawmakers worried that his poor performance could cost them seats or a shot at control of the House and Senate in the upcoming election.

Jean-Pierre said Biden had told her the calls with congressional Democrats were “strong.”

“He’s moving forward as being president. He’s moving forward with his campaign,” she added.

A Senate Democrat, however, said Wednesday evening that several colleagues had privately indicated they didn’t see a way for the president to survive politically.

The senator, granted anonymity to speak frankly about discussions among colleagues, said Biden hadn’t assuaged concerns about his debate collapse against Trump.

Biden served for 36 years in the Senate, and Democrats there have been largely silent about his candidacy during a week of turmoil.

Governors back Biden

Later on Wednesday, Biden held a hastily arranged meeting with Democratic governors, many of whom are at the center of speculation about possibly replacing him on the ticket.

Several emerged to say that they were firmly behind Biden. “The president was very clear that he is in this to win this,” Governor Wes Moore of Maryland told reporters.

Moore and other nationally prominent governors with extensive fundraising networks like California’s Gavin Newsom, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and Illinois’s JB Pritzker went to the White House for the crisis meeting in person, while others joined virtually.

“I heard three words from the president —he’s all in. And so am I. Joe Biden’s had our back. Now it’s time to have his,” Newsom said.

But other recent reports have spurred speculation among Democratic allies. On Tuesday, the Washington Post said that former President Barack Obama had privately conveyed to allies that Biden’s path to reelection was more challenging following his debate performance.

Reuters published a new poll showing Harris — the most likely successor if Biden were to step aside — trailing Trump, the Republican candidate, by a single point. Momentum behind the vice president, who could take over the campaign’s sizeable war chest, has gathered in recent days. The pair had lunch together on Wednesday afternoon and jointly dialed in to their campaign’s conference call.